0729 GMT January 29, 2022
According to a decision made at the 7th edition of the Indian Ocean Naval Symposium (IONS), which was hosted by France from June 28 to July 1, the center will be launched for the Indian Ocean rim countries, enabling them to exchange information aimed at ensuring maritime security, Khanzadi said in a televised interview on Saturday night.
He added that it is the first such center in the region and the regional states can dispatch their representatives to the center in Chabahar port, according to IRNA.
Referring to the IONS meeting, the Iranian commander said that navy commanders of 36 countries also discussed the issue of piracy and ways to fight maritime insecurity caused by pirates.
Pointing to the Iranian Navy’s overseas missions, the commander said Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei had once called on the navy to arrange plans for the presence in countries such as Gambia, where the US began to enter forcibly to take captives as slaves centuries ago.
Highlighting Iran’s growing naval presence in the Atlantic Ocean and African coasts, Khanzadi said, “The presence of the Islamic Republic of Iran’s Navy, which represents a country that supportoppressed, sends a special message. By the way, our flotilla was present in (the coasts of) that country (Gambia) last week.”
Presence in Atlantic Ocean
He also referred to Iran’s naval presence in the Atlantic Ocean, saying, “Our presence in the Atlantic Ocean is a response to the Americans’ claims that Iran could never sail in the ocean,” Khanzadi said.
The remarks came as the Iranian ships, the frigate Sahand and the base ship Makran, are sailing in the Atlantic Ocean as the first mission of the Iranian Navy in the oceans, Mehr News Agency reported.
“While Americans are present some 12 miles off Iranian waters, they are afraid of Iran’s naval fleet in the Atlantic that is sailing 5,000 miles far from the US,” added Khanzadi.
Makran ship carries 110,000 tons of fuel and can stay in waters for 10 years without the need for refueling, he said, adding that the ship is equipped with an advanced water desalination system which can provide a persistent presence of naval fleet in the high seas.
Iran built Makran ship in six months, which surprised Western countries, the commander noted.
In recent years, Iran’s naval forces have increased their presence in international waters to secure naval routes and protect merchant vessels and oil tankers against pirates.
He also hailed Iran's capabilities in producing naval vessels, saying that some of the Iranian vessels are now thousands of kilometers away from Iran, escorting Iranian tankers, Tasnim News Agency reported.
Khanzadi said his forces will receive new homegrown equipment within the next few months, including a warship, a destroyer, a missile-launching hovercraft and an oceangoing reconnaissance vessel.
He said the Iranian Defense Ministry is going to furnish the navy with a new hovercraft armed with missiles in the coming months.
Moreover, the Damavand destroyer and Konarak warship will join the navy’s fleet in early fall, he added.
According to the commander, the navy’s first oceangoing reconnaissance vessel will go into service in the not-too-distant future.